Bell blends right in with cohesive White Sox braintrust

SHARE Bell blends right in with cohesive White Sox braintrust

Buddy Bell has been promoted to vice president/assistant general manager for the White Sox on Friday, GM Rick Hahn announced.

Bell, 61, will assist with major-league roster and staffing decisions and undertake amateur and special assignment scouting assignments. He’ll keep his current responsibility of overseeing the player development system.

Bell has been with the Sox for nine seasons. He just completed his first as vice president of player development and special assignments. He said he has no aspirations to be a GM.

“I get to help in just about every area of our organization, which I like,” Bell said. “I’m very lucky.”

A five-time All-Star as a player and a manager with three teams before he came to the Sox organization, Bell’s expertise is on the baseball side of management. He said he’ll lean on Senior Director of Baseball Operations Dan Fabian to help with the technical end of the job.

“They have all these rules, about waivers for example, but I’m not equipped to do that job the way most assistant GMs are,” Bell said. “I’m on the baseball end of things.

“I get to help in just about every area of our organization which I like I’m very lucky.”

The Sox chain of command will be different with Hahn in charge but it figures to be cohesive. Hahn, Bell and Robin Ventura are compatible and respectful of each other. In other words, expect fewer skirmishes than what had become the expected norm when Ken Williams was GM and Ozzie Guillen the manager with Hahn in the middle.

“It’s been really good,” Bell said of his relationship with Hahn, who was named GM last Friday. “It’s been really easy for a lot of reasons. Rick is very intelligent and a great listener. That helps when you’re talking across table to somebody and you’re running ideas by him. I’ve had a great relationship with Rick from the beginning.”

Before joining the Sox, Bell spent 13 seasons on major-league staffs. He managed the Tigers from 1996-98, the Rockies from 2000-02 and the the Royals from 2005-07. Bell praised the work of first-year manager Robin Ventura and said Ventura’s success doesn’t suggest anybody without experience going into managing can handle the job.

The Sox had a three-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central in September but finished in second place, three games behind.

“We had a good team and for whatever reason, we never had any real easy games,” Bell said. “We never had a blowout, so every game was a pressure cooker and mentally that can wear on you with younger guys who’ve never been there. It was a great experience for our younger guys and that can only make us better. There are some areas hopefully we can shore up.”

The Sox organization meetings begin Saturday in Arizona. The general manager meetings are next week in Palm Springs, Calif.

Among the topics of discussion at the meetings will be the catching and third base positions, with A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis in free agency.

Asked if Brent Morel, the 2012 Opening Day third baseman, will be healthy enough to be considered as an option, Bell said, “We hope he is. When you have a back issue it’s hard on you, especially at third base because you’re up and down and there are quick moves. And hitting. Hopefully he can get this straightened out.

“Obviously he developed some bad habits because of it. Is he going to break those bad habits he got into mechanically last year.

“Certainly, we’re still counting on him to be able to do something for us.”

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